Visit San Francisco on a California Coastal Cruise

Princess ship passing under the Golden Gate Bridge

Whether you're visiting San Francisco for a few hours or a few days, travelers will surely fall with this quaint yet bustling metropolitan city. Whether visitors are looking for a historical lesson in civil disobedience at Alcatraz or the best margarita outside of Mexico, the city by the bay has a treat for everyone. Here are the best things to do when you visit San Francisco.

Pier 39

A few blocks east of Fisherman's Wharf, Pier 39 is a waterfront building that was constructed on top of an abandoned cargo pier in the fashion of early 20th century architecture. Tourists can walk along the docks and witness hundreds of seals bathing in the San Francisco sunlight year-round. The salt-infused air in this cosmopolitan town has yielded some of the best variations of sourdough breads in the world, and whether it's a bright sunny day or pouring rain, tourists have to try a bread bowl with tomato soup or clam chowder at Boudin Bakery. Through a 30-foot observation window, guests at the restaurant can catch a glimpse of artisan bakers meticulously shaping baguettes, batards and loaves before sitting down to enjoy an amazing meal.

North Beach

Passengers on a Princess cruise can revisit their hippie days in North Beach, which was once a haven for beat poets such as Allen Ginsberg. Today this Italian neighborhood attracts young poets and musicians to cool nightclubs and bars. Unlike the usual tourist destinations in San Francisco, North Beach is still loved by locals because of its colorful history and entertaining nightlife. For a morning thirst quencher, San Francisco visitors should go to the Caffe Trieste, which is where the likes of Jack Kerouac and Ginsberg hung out in the 1950s.

Spectacular Dining

Adding to the San Francisco sophistication are the myriad food and drink options found throughout the city. Conde Nast Traveler has listed some of the best cocktail and beer bars in the city, and cruise passengers looking for a night cap or a quick drink before returning to their ship should visit any of these popular locations. Margarita fans can go to the tequila bar Mosto, which features more than a hundred different types of the alcohol. For a taste of Manhattan on the West Coast, “The II Professionale” cocktail at Locande is made with scotch, vermouth, bitters and amaretto.

The Golden Gate City is crawling with activities for all types of visitors, from young families to retired adults, and is a beautiful port on any cruise destination. If you're looking for California coast vacation ideas, there's no better place to start than San Francisco.

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